Cow efficiency is without doubt at the forefront of farm conversations worldwide.
In New Zealand, where climate change and environmental regulation has contributed to dairy cow numbers stabilising, the need now is to milk more-efficient cows and to get maximum performance from the herd. In other words, producing maximum milk solids per kilo of dry matter, and per kilo of liveweight, is the focus for many.
Jersey cows are aligned to the objectives above, and it continues to be a breed that punches above its weight.
Combined with a good reputation for fertility breeding values, the breed has an increasingly important role to play in the national herd.
The below graph illustrates the increase in efficiency of our Sire Proving Scheme Jersey bulls over the past 10 years.
After listening to farmer feedback, LIC focused on increasing the liveweight breeding values of Jersey bulls and this is a trait that has increased significantly over time. Following on from this, production increased rapidly, with big strides being made in fat and protein breeding values.
This year LIC has slightly reduced the annual SPS Jersey bull intake, although it has increased the joint Jersey Future programme (with Jersey NZ) to nine bulls for 2023.
LIC genetics experts are focusing on diversity, along with continuing non-negotiables of genetic gain and quality dairy traits and breeding values.
While we’re on the subject of efficiency and elite quality, it gives me great pleasure to profile three bulls that excel in both production and traits-other-than production (TOP).
322001 Paynes Titus Excelsior-ET:
Excelsior is the highest-ranked 22-code bull in LIC’s Jersey stable. Bred by Brad & Clare Payne, he’s a bull with exceptionally high protein and fat genomic breeding values (gBV’s), and a great fertility gBV of 7.0.
High production and fertility, combined with good somatics and udder gBV’s, makes this bull a true all-rounder.
His dam is a standout cow with excellent milk solid production and a production worth (PW) of greater than 900. Excelsior is available in the Premier Sires Sexed team and as an Alpha nominated sire.
322205 Lynbrook Trigg Bravado:
Bravado is from the Lynbrook Stud and is a Jersey Future bull (a result of LIC’s joint programme with JerseyNZ).
Good production and great udders are a standout for this bull. His sire, Thornwood Degree Trigger, was one of the highest udder overall gBV Jersey bulls marketed by LIC. Bravado himself has an udder overall gBV of 1.00, and a rear udder gBV of 1.17.
He’s out of the Bowie cow family at Lynbrook, and his dam, Lynbrook Star Bowie, is a stunning VG86 cow with PWs and LWs in excess of 600.
This is indeed a great production and udder bull, and he’s available in Premier Sires Forward Pack and sits in the Jersey Genomic section of LIC’s Genetics Catalogue 2023.
322036 Glanton KFP Bremen-ET:
From the Glanton stud and the well proven B-family, Bremen excels in production gBV’s, and boasts a desirable liveweight gBV. He’s a bull that’s likely to pass on big capacity to his daughters, as well as good rear udders.
Bremen is a half-brother of the high ranking Glanton Flynn Brisbane and is out of the high production dam Glanton Index Brisbane – a cow with tremendous fat and protein gBV’s.
Bremen is available in Premier Sires Forward Pack and can be nominated via Alpha.